Tuesday, February 24, 2015


The other day I was on Instagram, watching a Ball is Life video.  This particular feature was of a young man in high school who is obviously a basketball phenom. He ducked and dodged and twirled the ball around like it was a yo-yo --- he made basketball look like Swan Lake.  And then there was the boy defending him, in proper position and with ample speed, but clearly embarking on a suicide mission.  It wasn't 10 seconds before the defender was flat on the ground, tripped up by the guile and trickery of our Boy Wonder.

My son would watch that video and be in awe of the skill of the star player.  I watched it and felt for the mama that was going to have to find the perfect words for her humiliated son, whose "ankle breaking" was now immortalized on social media.

When did I switch?  When did I start seeing the world as an after-school special?

One clue may have come the other day, when I woke up in bed with the night sweats, which, according to Google, is either idiopathic hyperhidrosis, or ... the early stages of menopause.

Gasp. It's a musical, it's a punch line, but I am here to tell you - it's no joke.  I am no longer a baby, a honey, or a ragtime gal.  I cannot separate my will from my body.  But then again, at 42 1/2 it may be too soon for me to be crying menopause.  My symptoms - the sweat, the worry, the grey hair, the slow trickle of pee - could just be, in my case, related to motherhood.  Perhaps it is Momopause.*

* I thought I was so clever coming up with that, until I did a little research and found out someone else already thought of it.  Oh well.

But anyway, Momopause, I think, is a real thing.  It happens when you have teenagers, but you are especially susceptible if you are in your 40's when that occurs.  It's like mid-life crisis meets empty-nest syndrome.  When you realize that your parenting years are finite, and that your kids will be out on their own within minutes, and you need to cram in as many life lessons as you can on a daily, nay hourly, basis.

Suddenly, you aren't thinking about playdates and piano lessons and winter coats.  Now, you are pondering colleges, careers, and potential mates.  Are my kids good people?  Are they working too hard?  Are they not working hard enough?  Can they say no to drugs?  Do they want to say no to drugs? Are they happy?  Are they sad?  Did someone just ask me to draw her a bath?!

I had just about worked myself into a frenzy thinking about all of this today while driving to my upteenth child pick up/drop off of the afternoon.  As I pulled up into a driveway to pick up my daughter, I activated my voice texting to send her the usual message, "I am here."

And then it hit me.  That's it. That's the only thing I need to make very sure of, the main thing I need to send them into adulthood with - that both of my kids know, with 100% certainty, that I am here.  I am here when they triumph, I am here when they fail.  I am here to give advice, and I am here to help pick up the pieces when said advice is not taken.  I am here to bail them out, to hold them up, to stand aside and let them shine. I am here.  Hot flashes and all, I am here.  Momopause could be the beginning of something beautiful, if only I could let go, just a little.  We'll see.

Until next time, keep crowin' - and don't try to save the world - just be there when it needs a hug.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Life According to Fenton

This is literally the best thing I have ever seen.

I have watched this video over and over and over again.  And I laugh with tears rolling down my face every time.  It's funny and it's real and it's actually a perfect explanation of the meaning of life.

I can so relate to Fenton's Human (FH).  Here they are, having a lovely stroll in the park --- like they do every day --- amongst the wild deer in the sunshine.  FH is probably thinking about his to-do list, resolving to finish a basement project and get caught up on his correspondence, and to simply make it a good, significant, productive day, which will begin just as soon as Fenton takes a whizz.  But on this day, without explanation, Fenton has an epiphany and realizes there is more to life than peeing on a tree.  And thus, he takes off into the deep blue yonder with full abandon.

FH has now lost complete control.  His schedule is irreparably taken off course, his tranquility ripped apart like a scab on a band aid.  Further, Fenton is absolutely not listening to anything except the call of the wild, and this could potentially lead to:  a) severe public humiliation for FH; b) a gruesome death to one or more innocent deer; c) multiple fines levied by the township for a violation of many laws; or d) all of the above.  And best of all, someone got it on video.

So many days, I feel like FH, just chasing after my life, desperately trying to:

  • Offer my best at work
  • Manage volunteer responsibilities
  • Keep the house within fire marshal guidelines
  • Replenish food every 36 hours
  • Give the impression that I am successfully raising a teen and a tween
  • Pretend I make time for my spouse, and 
  • Deal with my rear end, which is resisting the confines of denim like a popcorn bag in an overheated microwave.

But then, I can also feel like Fenton.  On the days when I realize that I have zero control over any of the bullet points in my world, I drive myself to Taco Bell in my pajamas and play Soda Crush on my Ipad until I beat that #$%@^ level.

Of course, the moral of the story is that there is a balance, that we can mow the lawn AND run through it naked with the sprinklers on.  Maybe the next time Fenton has a psychotic break, FH will realize that it's only temporary, that his dog will come back, and that he should enjoy the moment to lay down amongst the flowers and be thankful for all the things that make him happy.  He just needs to make sure he doesn't lay down in deer poo.

Until next time, keep crowin' - and this one's for you, Arie!